Amendments to law on judicial system received with interest - Prime Minister

Drafts regarding Poland's judicial system, recently proposed by the Law and Justice (PiS) party, have been received by the European Commission with great interest, Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki said Tuesday.

The PM, speaking to a public television broadcaster, said that one may expect the EC's response to the case within 3-4 months at the latest.

Asked whether he now sees a chance that the Article 7 procedure against Poland will be withdrawn, the PM said: "I hope so, as I believe that the reforms introduced by us, including the reform of the judicial system, are extremely necessary."

The PM added he is aware that the drafts, recently lodged with the Sejm (lower house), amending laws on common courts, the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court "were received with great interest."

"I have presented them to the EC President Jean-Claude Juncker and Vice-President Frans Timmermans. They approached the proposals very positively, but we will have to wait some time for the final reaction" said Morawiecki adding he hoped that "this reaction will be very positive."

Last week, the ruling Law and Justice party filed amendments to parts of its European Commission-contested judicial reforms. The amendments are a response to EC criticisms that the reforms threatened to undermine the rule of law.

Under the proposed new laws, the justice minister will have to consult judges before dismissing a court president. Also changed are retirement regulations for judges, with the power to prolong the employment of a retirement-eligible judge ceded from the justice minister to the president. The new laws also introduce 65 years as the retirement age for male and female judges. Under present laws, the retirement age for female judges is 60 years.

Another amendment act filed by PiS concerns three previously unpublished Constitutional Tribunal verdicts. The new regulations endorse the verdicts' publication including an annotation stating that they were issued in violation of Constitutional Tribunal regulations.